Midday meal workers staged a protest, under the aegis of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), demanding social security and enhancement of honorarium here on Thursday.

Addressing the protesters, Akkamma, president of the Shimoga District Midday Meal Workers’ Association, affiliated to the CITU, said that the government was paying a paltry sum of Rs. 1,100 as monthly honorarium to midday meal workers. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in December 2013, had said it would be enhanced by Rs. 500. However, he had not kept his promise, she said.

The 45th Indian Labour Conference held in Delhi in May 2013 had recommended that the government consider those working under the midday meal scheme as workers and extend minimum wage as per the existing law to them. It was unfortunate that even minimum wage was denied to midday meal workers in Karnataka, she said.

In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Rs. 4,500 was paid as monthly remuneration to those working under the midday meal scheme. The Karnataka government should also pay Rs. 4,500 as monthly remuneration to the workers here, she said.

According to the terms of the appointment, the government had to provide remuneration for 10 months a year. At present, the remuneration was paid only for nine months and 10 days, she claimed. The remuneration should be paid to workers during Dasara and summer holidays also, she said.

The government should provide job security to workers by regularising their service. The workers should be brought under the purview of Employees Provident Fund and a pension scheme should also be introduced for them. Compensation should be paid if a worker sustained an injury at the workplace, she said.

She said that midday meal workers were subjected to harassment by teaching staff in government schools and by members of School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs). She urged the officials of the Department of Public Instruction to take action to prevent harassment.

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